Community leaders concerned over gang activity

By Mere McLean
  • North Island: East Coast

Two community leaders from the Rotorua area that have seen gang activity recently are fed up with the growing problem in their backyards and want to turn it around.

This follows an incident over the weekend involving a gun and another incident last month involving a gang altercation.

Recent gang altercations in parts of Rotorua has residents calling for change.

John Merito says, “We need communities that have ears that are listening, eyes that are watching and looking to make sure that our babies are safe.”

On Saturday, police were called to a property in Te Koutu regarding an altercation involving a gun.

Police confirmed that two people have been arrested and face a number of charges.

According to Statistics New Zealand, crime rates for assaults in Rotorua are rising. In June, there were 105 assaults. Within a month, it rose by another three. 

Community leaders are making an effort to turn these statistics around.

Stephen Te Moni says, “This happens all around New Zealand and the world but it's not something we should fear. No, the main thing for us is not to be afraid.”

Merito says, “It's important that they are safe and the other thing is that they feel safe, that they feel that people up and down their street are watching them, caring for them and protecting them."

Te Koutu Community Action group will be reviewing what happened in their community at their next monthly meeting.   

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